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Comment: Re:Never finish (Score 1) 107

The Hugo Award Nominees reading package last year includes the entire Wheel of Time series (which I thought was a classy move by the publisher, and a nice contrast to Orbit Books including only excerpts for their three nominees.) (If you're a member of the appropriate Worldcon, you're eligible to vote for the Hugos, and in recent years they've provided an electronic package of most of the written and graphical works that are nominated.) The bad part about this is that the tablet I use for reading has the bloody entire bloody Wheel of bloody Time series on it, and I'm about 90% of the way through :-)

I hadn't read it before Jordan died, and probably that wasn't my birthday anyway, so for me it wasn't the worst birthday present ever; for that one I'll have to thank my little brother for giving me chicken pox when I was 10. There wasn't a vaccine for it back then, but there is now, and if your parents didn't give you the vaccine and other kids didn't give you the disease, trust me, it's one of the vaccines you want to get. (I also got measles the hard way, but I was young enough I don't remember it very well. Got the polio vaccine, though, unlike a neighbor's kid who was a couple of years older and had to use crutches.)

Comment: Re:And here's the patch (Score 1) 211

by billstewart (#48945165) Attached to: Serious Network Function Vulnerability Found In Glibc

Yeah, I probably should have blamed a different one of the non-length-limited strXXXX() functions, but strcmp() will still do Bad Things if you hand it one or two non-null-terminated pointers.

And yes, stderr would have been the better choice, but the important thing is to replace the implementations of dangerous functions with something that fails safely, and if you can't do it at compile or link time, it's still safer to do it at run time than to run the unsafe version.

Comment: New-age "spirituality" (Score 1, Insightful) 115

by msobkow (#48944633) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

The whole concept of "duplicate you" just smacks of new age bullshit "spirituality" which suckers in the weak-minded and ill-educated with baffle gab and fancy words. Of course that's not all that far removed from religion, except that the new agers like to make their bullshit sound scientific when it is based 100% on faith in completely unprovable conclusions drawn from unproven theories in the first place.

I wish people as a whole were more rational, but they're not. They'll believe whatever they choose to believe. But at least I can respect the religious groups for admitting their beliefs are based entirely on faith, whereas they new agers try to claim there is "logic" behind their fantasies and bullshit.

Comment: Re:hmmmm (Score 1) 115

by Dan East (#48944591) Attached to: There Is No "You" In a Parallel Universe

The existence of other universes is a theory, and even within that theory there is a limit to how many other universes exist, and thus there likely aren't enough permutations represented for there to exist a universe so incredibly similar to ours. I have no problem with people trying to reign in obviously wrong speculation even if the speculation is in regard to a theory.

Comment: Re:What are the practical results of this? (Score 1) 420

by dgatwood (#48943995) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

have you ever worked in a union? while this is true, most of them make it hard as heck to jump through the hoops needed to jump through to ensure none of your dues are used towards political campaigns.

Yes, I worked in a union shop. I didn't join, but I seem to recall that being one of the checkboxes on the paperwork you had to fill out whether you joined or not, along with the option to opt out of the union and pay "fair share" fees.

Comment: Re:Power Costs (Score 1) 253

Yeah, but park ramps have been around for a couple of decades (the earliest patent filing I could find was filed in 1992), and they only started having insane levels of trouble fairly recently (by comparison). So it's probably the combination of excessive amounts of parking (as you mentioned) and having less structural support for the heads that makes them so problematic.

Comment: Re:U-verse (Score 1) 420

by dgatwood (#48943967) Attached to: FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Not all devices show LTE bars identically, so your mileage may vary. To compare apples to apples, we'd both need to be using dBm. Truthfully, even that wouldn't necessarily be a valid comparison, depending on multipath interference and a whole host of other factors. My point was that there are a lot of places that have service, but where the minute-long connection latency caused by high packet loss results in such a horrid real-world speed that it might as well be truly slow.

Comment: Re:Anecdotal Example (Score 2) 92

by dgatwood (#48943885) Attached to: Wi-Fi Issues Continue For OS X Users Despite Updates

Would be nice. I also wish they'd go back to the pre-retina enclosure, and instead of wasting space on an optical drive, I'd like to see them use most of that extra space for additional battery capacity. If I run Photoshop or Finale or Xcode or any of the other software that I use to actually get stuff done with my retina MBP (about one year old), I'm lucky to get 2.5 to 3.5 hours out of it. If I were designing a computer to meet my needs, the "four cores running at full tilt" duration would be eight or ten hours, and the "just wasting time doing light-duty web browsing" number would be measured in days.

Or just bring back removable batteries. Either way.

Comment: Re:More ambiguous cruft (Score 1) 436

Scenario: terminatored corn is widely succesful and replaces regular corn. Something bad happens to stop Monsanto from delivering more seends. What will the farmers plant? They can't use seeds from terminatored corn since they're infertile, and they can't plant regular corn seeds since they no longer have any. Mass starvation follows.

Scenario: the bad thing that happens is Monsanto realizes that they have more than 60% market share, and raises the price 20:1, because they'll make an enormous profit. There's nowhere nearly enough regular seed corn to plant, so everyone has to pay the piper. It's a monopoly in the making, and you know Monsanto and many other businesses have already thought of this and are just wriggling with anticipation.

Comment: This is US-centric problem! (Score 1) 436

I live in Oslo, Norway, and I would claim that even though we also have our share of wooly/wishful thinking, most Norwegians tend to believe what scientists tell them, as opposed to the US where even presidents can boast about making decisions based on their gut feeling, with no factual research.

I am an EE who has been working in the IT business since 1984, but that doesn't mean that I don't try to follow research in other fields, like physics or chemistry.

Living in Norway I know that pretty much all the electricity we use here is based on hydro power, but I realized many years ago that for humanity in general to have a sustainable future we need a lot more research into nuclear power: It comes down to either filling up a fraction of the Sahara with solar cells, or developing better reactors like the Thorium LIFTer. Burning complex hydrocarbons for power generation should be a crime, and not just due to global warming.

I'll admit that I don't like GMOs, but that is mostly due to the way the US patent systems have allowed Monsanto to patent the resulting modified genes. It was really good news when the patent on the breast cancer gene sequence was invalidated, so I do have some hope that the US will try to fix the most glaring problems.


Comment: Re:No shit (Score 1, Offtopic) 92

by Jesus_666 (#48942645) Attached to: Wi-Fi Issues Continue For OS X Users Despite Updates
I just tried that and imagine my surprise when my MBP spontaneously downgraded itself to Mountain Lion!

Okay, actually it just booted into the old Mountain Lion volume on the first HDD because the Mac keeps the preferred boot volume in NVRAM. So when clearing your NVRAM keep in mind that the Mac will boot into whatever system volume it finds first unless you tell it otherwise.

Comment: Re:Vast... Tracts of Land (Score 1) 189

by jfengel (#48942585) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

I'd be interested in reading the source to see what the argument is. Off the top of my head, the Irish Potato Famine strikes me as a pretty real famine. It was certainly exacerbated by political pressures, and they were growing monocultures in the first place because of the pressure for productivity. But it was a real crop failure, and they learned to reduce their dependence on a single crop.

Certainly it could have been handled better, and far fewer people would have died. But I still think the death toll would have counted as a famine, or at best a famine barely averted by aid. I'd put it in a different category from starvation caused by war or corruption. Even the Great Chinese Famine could be chalked up to politics without too much of a stretch, but there are still crop failures due to drought and disease.

Since the agricultural revolutions of the past few centuries and especially the last few decades, we're so awash in food that aid will always be stymied by people rather than lack of calories. But I'd put the tipping close closer to 40 years than 400.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire